Culver City Observer -

Longtime Culver Resident Katherine Klemic Dies


Jenny Lens

Katherine Klemic

Katherine Klemic, who has been a Culver City resident since the 1950's died at home last month following a massive stroke.

Arrangements are under the direction of Gates, Kingsley & Gates Smith Salsbury Funeral Directors in Culver City.

Katherine , 2/21/1923 - 2/23/2016, was the third of six children born to Yugoslavian immigrants. She once went on a bad double date, received an offensive Valentine, and was hung by her skirt from a fence post (among other pursuits and in no particular order).

Then, at age 17 Katie hopped a bus bound for the Cleveland Rodeo and fell in love at first sight with a bronco rider. Despite infrequent visits and her parents' outright objection, two years later when her cowboy sent her a bus ticket, $42 and a note that said "meet me in Seattle and marry me" Katie went west.

She married Frank Klemic, Jr, in a civil ceremony, after which he shipped out for the Pacific in WWII. The 19-year-old bride moved to The Evangeline Home for Women, a boarding house in San Francisco, where she too served her country as a Riveter.

Between factories in San Francisco and Cleveland Katie assembled aircraft and halftracks. Frank came home wounded, and the two settled in Cleveland to start a tiny family. And then a sort-of average-sized family. And eventually a really BIG family.

Moving across the country to exotic Culver City, Frank and Kate made a home for eight children and countless neighbors, classmates, friends, dogs, rabbits, newts, and other creatures of sometimes unpronounceable taxonomy.

Kate did the laundry and the cooking, gardening, first aid, plumbing & electrical, arts & crafts, PTA... and did we mention her day job at Fedco? And on the weekends, she and Frank would pack everyone and their dogs into the bed of the pickup truck and head into the Mojave Desert to a small oasis they had cultivated.

Teresa Raschilla

Grandma enjoying the day and her glass of wine

The Cabin, in Kelso Valley, became the stuff of song to the children of the gypsy cowboy duo who retired there. In 1996, after more than a half-century together, Frank rode off into the sunset, and Kelso Kate came home to her family in Culver City. For 20 years she kept the door open and the coffee hot for anyone who might wander inside, including the occasional butterfly. On the afternoon of February 23, 2016, Kate died peacefully in the company of her children, grandchildren, great- grandchildren, loving neighbors, and dear friends. She is deeply loved by all of those and so many more who will miss her bright eyes and sweet smile. _______________________________ IN LIEU OF FLOWERS... ...and in tribute to Kate's love of horses, please consider a donation to WIN, PLACE, HOME: a nonprofit that retrains retired racehorses in a new discipline, and finds forever homes where they will prosper. The venture was founded this year by Honorary-Klemic CJ Wilson, and by Kate's granddaughter and namesake, Katherine Grace Klemic. Kate was celebrating the arrival of their first rescue just a few weeks ago. Donations can be made online, by phone, or via check: A private service will be held at The Cabin in April.


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